By CNN Philippines Staff, August 19, 2022; CNN Philippines
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) – The government said it is committed to cooperate with the international community on human rights issues, as the United Nations (UN) is set to hold a series of dialogues and reviews in the next three months.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to work with other countries during a virtual briefing held Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Friday.
According to the DFA, constructive dialogues with the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies will take place in September and October – first, on the country’s compliance with the conventions on the rights of the child, and next on civil and political rights.
The UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will also commence in November, where the human rights records of the Philippines and other member-states will be assessed.
The last time the country underwent a UPR was in 2017, when an overwhelming 45 out of 47 states participating in the review expressed concern over the spate of killings in the Duterte administration’s controversial anti-illegal drug campaign.
During that time, the Duterte government rejected over half of the recommendations from the evaluation, which included probing alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) resulting from the drug war. It said full acceptance “would denigrate the State’s current serious efforts that already address the issues raised.”
The Marcos administration will also receive the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children in November this year and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression in 2023, the DFA said.
It added that in the same Wednesday briefing, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla reiterated plans to improve the country’s criminal justice system, consistent with commitments under the UN Joint Programme which was launched last year.
Remulla said his department is also working to strengthen the capability of the inter-agency committee tasked to handle EJK cases and other grave violations of human rights. Among others, he said they will partner with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Extralegal Killings on a training program on probing possible unlawful deaths.